Jason Scott Lee (live action Mulane remake, Disney+ Doogie Kamealoha, MD.) has appeared in many roles. But he’s perhaps best known for playing the legendary Bruce Lee in the 1993 biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. In preparation for the role, Jason Scott Lee trained with a student of the late martial artist.
‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’ stars Jason Scott Lee as the titular cinematic icon
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a biographical film about martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. The story follows Lee from his move from Hong Kong to the United States and includes his time as a Hollywood actor. He focuses on his career as a martial arts teacher, as well as his television and film activities.
The film further explores the relationship Lee had with his wife Linda Lee Cadwell and the racism the actor was subjected to when he came and throughout his life. The writers took material from Cadwell’s book Bruce Lee: The Man I Knew Alone. They also used material from Robert Clouse Bruce Lee: the biography.
Additionally, director Rob Cohen used Cadwell’s interviews as well as those of his son, Brandon Lee. Instead of adhering to the rigidity of the biographical film, Cohen added elements of dramatization and mysticism to put it on par with the films Lee starred in.
The film received positive reviews, and critics praised Scott Lee’s performance as Lee. It was also a commercial success grossing $63.5 million against a budget of $16 million.
Jason Scott Lee trained with Bruce Lee’s student for the film
Jason Scott Lee got the job in the Bruce Lee movie after a casting director from The Last of the Mohicans recommended it. He didn’t get this role because they didn’t think he looked like a Native American. But that led to her being cast in the biopic.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Jason Scott Lee had no martial training when he took the job. However, he was a natural athlete and he trained with Jerry Poteet, Lee’s former student.
Poteet explained, “I trained Jason like I was trained by Bruce.” According to the outlet, this included a rigorous diet. He trained Jason Scott Lee in Jeet Kune Do blocks, kicks and punches.
Poteet praised Jason Scott Lee’s ability to grasp the teachings of Bruce Lee, calling it a “quick study”. The actor’s co-star John Cheung, who played his on-screen rival and coordinated the stunts for the film, also praised Scott Lee’s martial arts abilities.
Brandon Lee turned down the role of playing his father
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was plagued by conflict. Jason Scott Lee was diagnosed with hepatitis and Cohen had a heart attack. Additionally, Lauren Holly, who played Lee’s wife, Cadwell, dealt with the tragic loss of her younger brother. This all came after the producers’ first choice turned down the role.
Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, was the first actor to be considered for the role. Not only was he the right age, but he also had the proper martial arts training — all on top of his relationship to the subject. At the time, Brandon Lee was pursuing his own acting career.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Brandon turned down the role. He thought it would be too weird to play his father, especially in a film that delved into his parents’ love life. Brandon said: “If this had happened later in my career, I might have considered this more seriously.”
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